I remember a time when Wu-Tang Clan
was for the children. Years before the egomaniac Kanye West
interrupted Taylor Swift at the MTV Awards or faux-interrupted Beck at the Grammies, ODB (R.I.P.) charged the stage to complain about not winning a Grammy over Diddy in 1998, legendarily remarking, "Wu-Tang is for the children. We teach the children."
Well, perhaps RZA should try and find that spirit again because this new idea to sell only one copy of the potentially last Wu-Tang album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
, is utterly vicious. Wu-Tang Clan is one of the most influential aspects of not only rap culture, but American. Their legendary status as a crew and individual solo members have been noted. As perpetual fan pleasers, reuniting ever so often under the tutelage of RZA to follow his mad genius plans, Wu-Tang has frequently given the people what they want. So why stop now?
The secretly recorded Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
is set to be released through a prestigious auction house, with the RZA saying he has already been offered $5 million for the album. Don't worry though! After the copyright ends everyone will be able to hear the album. Unfortunately that will take 88 years and though I am young and healthy, I don't think I'll make it past 100. I don't want to wait 88 years, much less 88 days to hear this Wu-Tang album. If it's finished drop it right now! Ever heard of a surprise release?
Imagine being a dedicated fan to an artist for over twenty years, only to find out their last album will only be given to one person, at a price tag clocked in the millions. For a group coming from humble NYC origins, you would think Wu-Tang would remember who exactly they were making music for. It's a truly heinous idea which could ultimately have poor benefits for artists. What if a young prince of wherever decides to offer Drake $20 million to make him a personal album that no one else will ever hear? His stan like fans would never allow it.
In the past artists sold artwork to individuals, but this is 2015 and those important works most likely made it into a museum by now. Almost all art should be universal. Publicly going out and admitting your last album will only go to the highest bidder is a slap in the face to all of your fans who have been following your career since it's inception back in Staten Island. Recently, Kanye made comments condemning the idea of exclusivity. If RZA isn't on board with the concept that, "everyone should have the opportunity to drink from the same fountain," then how the hell are they for the children? Wu-Tang was supposed to be forever, but this move destroys that sentiment. By having an open ended discography with a final album that one person has heard will forever taint their legacy. RZA should wake up and realize high art doesn't need to cost millions and millions of dollars. High art can change the culture and leave an impact. Maybe Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
can do that, but not if the masses don't get it.
Check out "Protect Ya Neck" below and speculate how the buyer of the album will be feeling once he realizes all of the Wu-Heads are coming for him.